Written by Jack Bromby
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Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Angry office workers from Forresters Business Park are set to go on strike this Friday in protest at restricted water cooler usage at their building.

The one-day strike on March 8 is the first of a programme of action by the Public and Commercial Services union.

"People are angry at the harsh limits being imposed by their bosses with regards to usage of the water coolers," Mark Waters, a worker at the Forresters Business Park in Estover, Plymouth, said.

"It is a person's God given right to use the water cooler whenever they want without some stuck up boss telling them when they can or can't use them. It is also very well known that a water cooler is a basic social gathering point for office workers to discuss recent interests and trends across the office community. We are having this right taken away and something needs to be done now."

He said that if the issue is not dealt with in a swift manor the whole union is considering going on strike indefinitely until water cooler privileges are fully restored.

"This is not going to be just a one-day strike," Mr Waters said. "Members have voted for a sustained campaign of action until full water cooler privileges are restored. As a matter of fact we are already getting the picket signs ready for if it happens, we need to be prepared for anything."

However it's not just in Estover where strikes are being carried out, it's happening all over Plymouth including the Land Registry, Court Service, Devonport Dockyard, the Borders Agency, HM Revenue and Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions are expected to be hit by the walk-out as all of these workplaces currently have restricted water cooler usage.

The union's national executive agreed yesterday to hold a three-month programme of action, starting with the all-day strike on March 8.

The strike will be followed up with more strikes on dates yet to be announced.

Employers face other forms of disruptive industrial action short of a strike, and strike days will be interspersed with protests and campaigning activities.

It is also reported that a water cooler will be brought in to the strike so that the protesters can gather around it at specified points during the day to discuss how the protest is going.

"The union has asked for talks on the key issues affecting the social lives of office workers in the workplace when water cooler privileges are removed, but the Government has refused to negotiate," a spokesperson said.

PCS general secretary Michael Castle said: "This is the start of a rolling programme of walkouts and disruptive action to put pressure on a Government that is refusing to talk to us.

"Office workers are working harder than ever to provide the services we all rely on but, instead of rewarding them, the Government is imposing reductions to the amount of times they can drink from a water cooler, gather round one to discuss recent trends and trying to rip up their basic working conditions.

"We warned more than two years ago that austerity wouldn't work and we were right.

"There is simply no need for cutting the water cooler privileges of hard-working office workers and our campaign is designed to make the case loud and clear."

Richard Miller, a water cooler expert at Harvard University said: "Research conducted actually shows that having a water cooler in the office can increase the morale of the workers and raise the atmosphere in a basic office environment. A water cooler is basically the 'Twitter of the office' as it is used as a social gathering point in many offices across the world."

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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